Monday, December 31, 2012

A Golden, Familial Ties, and a Drummer

Hey Mom!
Well, I won´t keep you waiting in suspense in terms of our transfer calls. Elder Fowler is getting transferred to Essen, and I have been called as a trainer!! We head to Frankfurt on Wednesday and we overnight there, and I will pick up my golden on Thursday morning at the golden-trainer meeting. Elder Hutchings and his companion are remaining together in Duisburg, and Elder Proffitt is getting transferred to Aachen, which is in my zone so I will see him at transfers and throughout the next two transfers at least, which I am super happy about. It is a kind of funny situation: Elder Ripplinger, one of my current zone leaders, is getting transferred, and Elder Hall from Aachen is replacing him. Elder Hall trained Elder Proffitt and was training another new missionary this last transfer, but now Elder Proffitt will be taking his place and finishing the second half of training Elder Ellsworth. I don´t know how it was in Mat´s or Ryan´s missions, but in our mission, when someone trains you, you become their "son" and they are your "father," and when you only do the second half of training someone, they are your "adopted son," and if your trainer trains someone else they become your "brother." That means that Elder Ellsworth was Elder Proffitt´s brother and now is becoming his adopted son, so there are some weird familial ties going on there haha.

There is not a whole ton more to report just since it was so recent since the last email. We lost contact with that 17 year old girl during the holidays, but we are meeting with her tomorrow, so hopefully there will be some progress there. We also met with the Maaßs, who are an older couple. Bruder Maaß is a professional drummer and has played with drummers from the Police, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. I am sure Mat would be excited to meet him one day. Anyway, we were having a dinner appointment with him and his wife yesterday. We expected it just to be a dinner appointment, but he brought along his musician friend, who plays the harp in the musical group they are both in, and Bruder Maaß went beast mode testifying of Christ and the Book of Mormon, and then we shared the quote from Joseph Smith about how he said the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the face of the earth, and the Spirit was there. I hope she at some point decides to meet with us because she is really cool and already has a super strong support system in the church with the Maaßs. The only problem was that at the end of the appointment when we were about to leave something was said about her getting baptized in another church this coming Sunday, which is too bad, but hopefully something will still work out in the end.

Besides that, there is not much to report this week. I will tell you how legit my son is next week on Monday. Have a great week! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Missionary Christmas

Hey Mom!

I am glad I got to skype with all of you and it looks like everyone had a really fun Christmas with all of the pictures you sent. Hopefully the rest of the holidays are as much fun.

Well, this will likely be a short email since I will have P-day again on Monday and we just talked the other day. After we finished skyping, the bishop made us finish off some cake that we had begun eating before we skyped, and it was way too much cake hah. Afterwards, we went to meet with Bruder Köster, where we shared a spiritual thought and just talked with him. Then he drove us home. The next day (yesterday), we met with the Helzers for a lot of the day. We played foosball in their basement, which is obviously awesome since all the boys in the family play it a lot. We then had dinner, which was really good. Then we played some games with the family, one of them called Ligretto, which is a super fast and stressful card game, and then we played Trivial Pursuit, church style. It was the same game board and everything, but someone had made a bunch of different cards with various church topics, which was fun. Elder Fowler and I did really bad because every time we were up, we got some ridiculous question that we didn´t know and then everyone else kept getting questions that were easy to answer. Oh well, it was still fun. We then shared a spiritual message with them and they drove us home afterwards. They also gave us each a really cool tie for Christmas, just one more in the collection!

Well, today, the zone is meeting in Düsseldorf to have a sport P-day, which will be fun. The rest of the week will be spent trying to work with less-actives and also working on setting up everything with our GPS. It takes a lot of time, but when it is done, it is going to make the work a lot more efficient and practical with transportation and everything.

I hope everything is good at home, and I look forward to hear from you again on Monday!
Liebe, Daniel

It was great to skype with Daniel!  He looks great and sounds great and he is really happy!  His German is awesome.  He loves his mission and we are really proud of him.  Now we have Mother's Day to look forward to talking to him again!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Such is the Life of a Missionary Sometimes

Hey Mom!

I am happy to hear that everything is ready for Mat and Libby´s wedding and that it is only in a few days! I did get your Christmas package this last week.  They made me pay 52 Euro to pick it up, which is like 80 or so dollars! But it was worth it since there are so many goodies in there. I sent a Christmas package home to you guys last week, and I hope it gets home before Christmas Day.

Well, this week was really a downer in terms of missionary work. We didn´t have any lessons with anyone besides members, and even those were few and far between. It was a slow week, and we also got a GPS and a new white board for the apartment, so we have spent some time getting all of that set up and figured out. We had our zone training on Friday and I was asked to prepare a 30 minute Thema for it about obedience, which went really well. In the beginning I had an object lesson and had Elder Fowler get blindfolded while Elder Hathaway (who was holding a sign that said the First Presidency and the Apostles) guided him, telling him to reach out and grab what was in front of him (a bottle of Fanta) and pour it into a cup and then drink it. It was really funny and everyone was laughing, and it also showed them how without the guidelines and commandments given by the prophets and apostles, they wouldn´t receive the blessings that come from obeying their counsel (in other words, taking the drink of Fanta). I also got to talk a lot with Elder Hutchings there, and he and Elder Hathaway are coming from Duisburg to Solingen today for Pday, which will be a lot of fun.

I also went on a split with the Elders in Wuppertal this week, and in Wuppertal they have what is called the Schwebebahn, which is basically their public transport system. Instead of streetcars on the ground, they are suspended in the air and go over the river in Wuppertal and it sways as you ride it. It is a really cool city. 

We met a 17 year old girl on the street about a week ago who said she would come to our Weinachtsfeier.  I wasn´t 100% sure what was going to happen there. It turned out to be the ward putting on a Christmas play, which was all fine and dandy, but not the kind of thing that a 17 year old German girl would be interested in. The youth in our ward all said hi to her and introduced themselves, but most of the time we were just kind of standing there with her and it was definitely awkward for her. The worst part was at the end the guy who was playing the role of Santa called me and Elder Fowler up to the front and made us say a few words and sing a Christmas song. Apparently it is a tradition, and they were supposed to warn us before hand, but no one ever did and it was super embarrassing. Oh well, such is the life of a missionary sometimes. 

We have a lot of people we want to meet with and we are going to try really hard to get back into contact with our what-we-thought-were-golden investigators. All of them pretty much fell off the face of the earth and won´t answer calls or texts, so there´s that. I think they still have a lot of potential, as soon as we find out what is going on with them. Well, that is it for the week! Have a good week, and enjoy the wedding! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snow Pretty Much Every Day

Hey Mom!
Well, this week was kind of a bummer. Most of our appointments fell out and we didn´t have a lot to do other than clean up our area book. This week was kind of bad for our whole zone. I think a big reason is because it is starting to snow pretty much every day now and people are having problems getting around or don´t want to go outside because of the weather. The buses also fall out sometimes or come late, so this is just the start of what could be a long winter.

On Monday, we met with a less-active member and talked with him about answering life´s questions through the Book of Mormon. We spent the rest of the day getting groceries and cleaning the apartment, and then getting some peace and rest. Tuesday we met with Bruder Olbert again in the old people´s home like we do every week, and that was good. We also had a really good district meeting, which was great. On Wednesday, we met with an older sister in our ward at a Chinese buffet, which was good, and later on, we met with one of our investigators in the Auslanderheim. He is the only one who lives there that can speak decent German, so when we were about to start teaching him, he got a call from another guy in the Auslanderheim and went to go help him clean up some legal stuff. He told us to wait for him, which we did for about 20 minutes until we went to check what was taking so long. We found the room where our investigator was and the guy in there likes us but doesn´t speak a lick of German, but made us sit down and listen to what was going on. There were two older German ladies there who worked for the government who were telling him he would have to leave the country since he didn´t have any documents, and our investigator was translating for him and we ended up not being able to go for about another hour.

Thursday was supposed to be our day where we met with our two main investigators, even though we had only met with them once up to this point. Both appointments fell out for various reasons. Then later that day, we had a split with Düsseldorf, where I went to Düsseldorf to work with Elder Sommerville for a day. Most of what we did on the split consisted of contacting people and making sure the new apartment was ready for the new Senior Couple who will be joining the district, which I am really excited about. We also thought we were going to be getting GPSs for our area, as well as a white board, which we need pretty badly, and they didn´t get brought up so we now won´t get them until Friday this week. On Saturday, we did our weekly planning and met with Bruder Köster, which is always good.  After church on Sunday we had to wait for 2 hours for a ride from the bishop to Remscheid. The ward has been practicing their Christmas program after church, and it takes forever and ever every time. Once we finally got there, we met with The Glosnickis, who are recently married and have a new baby, and they told us about their lives. They are cool people, and had really interesting stories. Besides all of that stuff for the week, we spent a lot of time rewriting the records in our area book because the previous missionaries wrote it really poorly and it is pretty hard to read. We will have to do a lot of that this week, as well as entering a ton of information into the GPS, which will take quite a bit of time.

Anyway, that is all for this week. I hope you guys have a good week and that everything runs smooth for the holiday/wedding season! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Super Awesome Week

Hey Mom!
I am really liking serving here in Solingen. I am getting used to the surroundings and am starting to get familiar with the bus schedules and where people live. Our apartment is kind of small, but it is fine for two missionaries. There is not much of a view from the windows like there was in Idar-Oberstein since we are pretty much right next to the Füsgängerzone, but it is still ok. Elder Fowler and I get along really, really well. It took a while for us to get accustomed to each others´ personalities, but now we are really comfortable with each other. He is super funny, and I really enjoy working with him. Being a district leader is also going really well, and I enjoy the responsibility and the opportunity to stay in close contact with a handful of missionaries.

Well, this last week was super awesome. On Monday, a bunch of companionships from the zone got together and went to the Dom in Köln, which was fun. Elder Hutchings was there, so we spent a lot of time talking and chilling, which was really great. The Dom is huge and we walked up a ton of stairs. I don´t remember how many there were, but it had to be at least 300 in this tiny, stone spiral staircase. After that, we hit up the Christmas markets in Köln and I got a cool nativity to send to you, and today/next Monday hopefully I can get all the things I need to to send home for Christmas. When we got back to Solingen, we met with a guy from Macedonia, and then had a lesson with a guy on the street about the Restoration. We gave him a Book of Mormon and got his address, and hopefully we can meet with him again this week.

On Tuesday, we met with Bruder Olbert, a really old member in a senior home, and then afterwards had lesson with a person we met on the street. On Wednesday we had our District Meeting in Düsseldorf, and later had a really cool lesson on the Füß with a guy we found.

Thursday was an incredible day. We met with this guy from Pogo, Africa called Charles. He was super interested in the Book of Mormon, and asked a ton of questions. Every time we answered a question, he was like, "das wollte ich hören" (that is what I wanted to hear)! We then asked him if he would be baptized if he found out the Book of Mormon was true, and he said yes! Later on, we met with a 19 year old kid that found the church through YouTube, which eventually led him to the church´s website, where he watched the Restoration movie and read the first chapter of 1 Nephi, and he said he already believes the story of Joseph Smith. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized, and he said yes as well! The best part is that he also has a friend in the ward, Thaddäus Hoppe, and he was there at the lesson and bore awesome testimony of the Book of Mormon, and it was just the best. That was a really good day.

On Friday, we travelled out to Monheim to contact a referral, but the street was false. Then we visited a fallen-out baptismal candidate from earlier this year. Later on that night, we met with Bruder Köster again and had a really good lesson. On Saturday, we met with a guy who is a member of the ward. We talked with him about the importance of the Restoration, which was cool. Yesterday, two of our investigators didn´t come to church, which was a bummer, but one of them got a ride with some members and came. After church, we went to Bishop Pauly´s house and had dinner and taught a lesson. That pretty much was the end of the week for us.

Well, that is all to report for now. I hope you have a good week and that everyone is excited for the holidays!! Love you!
Liebe, Daniel

Elder Squires and Elder Hutchings (Elder Hutchings is one of Daniel's best friends from high school and was also his roommate at BYU).  Great reunion in Germany!

Inside the Koln Dom (Cologne Cathedral)

Elder Squires and Elder Hutchings (and Santa)

Brother Koster and Elder Squires

View of snow from the apartment in Solingen

Elder Squires and Elder Fowler